Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to China, played an important role in brokering an agreement in which the Chinese government agreed to drop its indigenous innovation policies, according to a new profile in Bloomberg Businessweek:
Shortly after his arrival in August 2009, Huntsman brought together European and Asian diplomats and dozens of trade groups to craft a coordinated response to Indigenous Innovation, a program designed to promote homegrown technology. The new rules threatened to shut foreign companies out of China’s $112 billion government procurement market. After months of pressure, China last April said it would delay implementation of the regulations. “He knew China, so nobody could fool him,” says James McGregor, a former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China who is a senior counselor at consulting firm APCO Worldwide. “In China you sometimes can measure progress by stopping bad policies in their tracks.”
Both the Chinese and U.S. governments formally followed through with this decision by officially declaring in December that neither country would “adopt or maintain measures that make the location of the development or ownership of intellectual property a direct or indirect condition for eligibility for government procurement preferences for products and services.”
The White House on Monday disclosed that Huntsman had informed its staffers that he intended to leave during the first part of 2011.
Huntsman is the son of the founder of the $8 billion chemical company Huntsman Corp., which invented the McDonalds clamshell burger box.
The former governor of Utah is widely expected to become a candidate in the 2012 presidential election.
Bloomberg Businessweek and many other publications note that Huntsman has scored high marks among both the American and Chinese business and policymaking communities for promoting a practical working dialogue and open channels of communications between the American and Chinese.
Obama administration spokesman Robert Gibbs said during a recent press briefing that a search for a successor has already been launched but didn’t provide any more details.